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The Tie that Binds

The Tie that Binds

Words of Faith 7-29-19

Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2019

Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL

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Philippians 1

[7] It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart; for whether I am in chains or defending and confirming the Gospel, all of you share in God's grace with me. [8] God can testify how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus.


        How do you express your heart to old friends?  For Paul, it wasn't easy.

       Everyone has some dear old friends, even the Roman guard near Paul as he wrote. Paul had already written that he was "thankful in every remembrance" and happy for the fellowship once shared.  Old ties are good but what he felt for the folks at Philippi was really much more. 

       The guard was snoozing by now.  All the better as the Apostle searched for just the right words.  Ah, yes. A longing.  With the affection of Christ.  He felt that heavy lump in the throat and a fullness in the eyes as he put the pen back to papyrus.  "I long for you with the affection of Christ Jesus..."

       It was challenging to express in words, but that was close.  There is a powerful bond that cements the souls of those who labor together for the Kingdom of God.  Years can pass. Circumstances change. But for those who were once partnered in ministry, there is a deep affection that will remain forever.  It is a partnership that cannot be dissolved.

      Such relationships never need catching up except to share the events that have occurred. You instantly pick up right where you were to rejoice the victories and lovingly share the sorrows.  

      This affection of Christ is something beyond anything human.  It is something that cannot be created through corporate or ecclesiastical relationships.  It is the Spirit of Christ within one person longing for the Spirit of Christ in another person.  It is the Spirit of Christ, recalling the work of the Spirit done together.

      Some might think that such affection is strange.  Abnormal.  Not healthy.  Especially in ministry.  After all, we must be more "professional" than that.  But Paul makes it abundantly clear.  "It is 'right' for me to feel this way about all of you... I have you in my heart..." 

      The word 'right' means innocent and holy. It is innocent and holy for me to love you this way. This is really what God intends for the fellowship of believers.  This is the church that has no boundaries or walls. A current circumstance or separation does not dissuade such affection. Whether in chains or free to do the important work of the Gospel, God's grace is shared.

      Have you known that longing, the affection of Christ that right and holy?  It really comes from the deep fellowship of committing and working with other believers.  It doesn't come out of a book or a television program.  It usually comes from working with others toward a goal or vision that God has given. 

       We find it in short term missions and local outreach efforts.  Sometimes it involves wood and hammers and other times. It is found amid needles and thread.  Sometimes, it is surrounded with music and instruments.  But it always consists of the partnership, the koinonia, and the call of God to work together touching the lives of others.

        Perhaps today is a day to treasure someone in your heart.  Is there someone in your history of Christian service that you need to catch up with?  Is there someone that the Spirit of Christ in you longs for?  Give thanks.  For this is right.  It is part of God's grace.


      Lord, thank You for the partnership of Your Gospel.  Thank You for eternal bonds, far beyond time and space and circumstance.  I rejoice in those that remain in my heart because of the bond of Your Spirit.  Blessed be the tie that binds.  In Jesus name, Amen.


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The Words of Faith devotion is published five days a week by E-mail, and our website, and our church app, excluding Federal holidays. Please feel free to forward this devotion to a friend who might be blessed by this devotion. Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture is quoted from the New International Version (R) of The Holy Bible. Copyright (c) 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved. Words of Faith (c) 1997, 2010 Jeffrey D. Hoy. All rights reserved. Permission is granted to forward this copyrighted material or use portions of it with appropriate notation of the source for non-profit purposes.  

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